Wadada Leo Smith

A series of commissions celebrating West Hollywood’s 25th Anniversary including work by Ted Byrnes and Ari Desano, Scott Benzel, and Wadada Leo Smith. Performances happen the last Saturday in June, July, and August.

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Join SASSAS for the premiere of Ten Thousand Cereus Peruvianus’: A Memorial for Dorothy Stone by Los Angeles based musician, composer, and instructor Wadada Leo Smith, the third and final of three compositions commissioned by SASSAS to celebrate the long and fruitful relationship between SASSAS’s sound. concert series and the City of West Hollywood on the occasion of the City’s 25th Anniversary. Stone was the virtuoso flutist and co-founder of the California EAR Unit who passed away in 2008 at the age of 49. The twelve minute work for guitar — performed by Stuart Fox — is a solo work built around complex sounds and structural improvisation.

The evening is complemented by two other Smith compositions both from 1998. The M’ad-Din, To the memory of Cerno Bokar Saalif Taa, a work for saxophone quartet will be performed by Vinny Golia (sopranino and alto saxophones), Matt Harris (soprano and tenor saxophones), Casey Anderson (alto and baritone saxophones), and Casey Butler (soprano and tenor saxophones). The final piece, Bardsdale for solo guitar, is “an evocation of the tranquil California landscape around the groves of Fillmore” in three movements:

Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith is a trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist, composer, improviser, and educator, active in creative contemporary music for over forty years. His systemic music language Ankhrasmation is significant in his development as an artist and educator. Cover star of the February 2010 issue of The Wire, Smith is said to have “helped shift the locus of American free playing from the spiritually overpowering blare of Albert Ayler, John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, et al, towards something that focused overtly on intellectual explorations of music as language and system.”

Smith is Director of the African-American Improvisational Music program at CalArts and has received numerous awards, commissions and fellowships. His recordings have appeared on dozens of labels and some of the artists Smith has performed with include Muhal Richard Abrams, Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, Roscoe Mitchell, Lester Bowie, Joseph Jarman, George Lewis, Cecil Taylor, Anthony Davis, Carla Bley, David Murray, Don Cherry, Han Bennink, Charlie Haden and Malachi Favors among many others. Currently Smith has three ensembles-Golden Quartet, Silver Orchestra, and Organic.